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South Sudanese government welcomes Machar return to Juba

November 5, 2015 (JUBA)- South Sudanese government welcomed on Thursday reports that the former vice-president Riek Machar will return to the national capital, Juba next week.

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South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar smiles during a news conference in Khartoum, on September 18, 2015 (ST Photo)

Machar left Juba in December 2013 when the fighting erupted between his supporters in the presidential guards and forces loyal to president Salva Kiir.

“He is welcomed as a citizen of the country and as part of the implementation of the peace agreement”, a presidential advisor on decentralisation and intergovernmental linkage told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Tor Deng Mawien said he was not aware of any special arrangement being made by the government to give the first vice-president designate special reception on his first leg return to the country after signing of a peace agreement last August.

“There are no special preparations that I know but he is welcomed. His security and protection will be provided by the government. This is all I know", said Mawien, a relative and political ally of President Salva Kiir.

Machar will be accompanied by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and members of the mediation team during a one day visit, which opposition officials say would be a demonstration of commitment and seriousness to implementing the peace agreement.

The political and military leadership of the SPLM In Opposition are hold a conference in Pagak, the general headquarters if the group.

The purpose of the meeting is to brief the group leaders about the latest developments and their return to Juba to launch the implementation of a fragile peace agreement.

(ST)